Flowers ready to be full-time catcher for White Sox

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox catcher Tyler Flowers was scratched from Saturday's game against the A's at Camelback Ranch because of stiffness in his lower back that also kept him out of Friday's game against the Cubs.

Flowers said he first started feeling the tightness on Friday morning, but wasn't sure of the cause.

"I'm hoping it might be sleeping funny or something," Flowers said. "Maybe dehydrated from that 107 [degrees] in Tempe [on Thursday]. But [head athletic trainer] Herm [Schneider] has been kicking my butt, so I should be back shortly."

Flowers managed to keep his sense of humor in good shape, though. When asked if his range of motion has been affected, he deadpanned, "I never had much."

Ventura officially anoints Sale Opening Day starter

Sale, Ventura talk about Sale's recent spring outing

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- White Sox manager Robin Ventura made it official on Saturday, naming left-hander Chris Sale as his Opening Day starter. Then Ventura watched said Opening Day starter get knocked around in five innings by the Oakland A's at Camelback Ranch.

Neither Ventura nor Sale seemed particularly flummoxed by the seven-hit, five-run performance out of the man who earned the top billing with a breakout 2012 season in which he pitched a career-high 192 innings and went 17-8 with a 3.05 ERA and struck out 192.

"I'm not worried about that," Ventura said. "Velocity-wise, everything's great. We're getting toward the end of spring and he's probably a little anxious to get going. I talked to him earlier, and he'll be the Opening Day starter, so maybe he has some nerves doing that, but we feel very confident with him going forward and giving him the ball for the first day."

Sale said he just couldn't command the ball well around the strike zone.

"I honestly just started thinking harder instead of smarter," Sale said. "Coop [pitching coach Don Cooper] came up to me and said, 'Hey, you look like you're out there trying to get more stuff out of yourself.' After that, the next couple of innings were pretty good."

Ventura said he waited until now to anoint Sale as his No. 1 guy so the lefty could concentrate on doing the work he needed to do to prepare for the upcoming season.

"It's something for him to be motivated the last two weeks, get out there and go, and he's ready to do that," Ventura said.

Sale said he wasn't concerned with the crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

"I felt loose out there, I felt good, just like any other outing," Sale said. "No dead arm or anything. I just got lit up a little bit. Or a lot."

Versatile reliever Lindstrom fitting in with new club

Robin Ventura on intrasquad game and Matt Lindstrom

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The White Sox signed reliever Matt Lindstrom in January to replace the role of departed free-agent right-hander Brett Myers, who went to the Indians. The Sox like Lindstrom's numbers -- a career-low 2.68 ERA last year in 46 combined appearances with Baltimore and Arizona and a 1.255 combined WHIP -- and profile as a ground-ball pitcher.

So far, Lindstrom likes the White Sox, too. This spring, he's appeared four times and pitched four hitless innings with four strikeouts.

"It's gone really well," the 33-year-old right-hander said. "I feel like I've been working on some things, trying to iron out my mechanics, and it's really nice getting to know all the guys on a new team. Everyone keeps it real loose in here and we're having a good time, getting our work in and getting ready for the season to get started."

Lindstrom has done just about everything in a big league bullpen since arriving on the scene with the Marlins in 2007. He figures as a key part of the late-innings setup mix in front of closer Addison Reed, and he's happy with it.

"Whatever [manager] Robin [Ventura] needs in the late innings," Lindstrom said. "I can come in with runners on base or start a fresh inning or serve any of those roles. I have a little experience doing everything, so I think that suits me well."

Lindstrom said he's continually trying to iron out his mechanics, but he knows what he needs to do.

"The only thing I'm worried about is being aggressive, being able to pound the fastball in the zone and being able to locate," Lindstrom said. "Everything works off of that -- just staying toward home plate and keeping my direction as opposed to opening up and trying to gain more power, trying to overpower hitters when, really, you just have to stay within yourself."

Worth noting

• Reliever Ramon Troncoso left in the sixth inning after getting two outs after splitting open a fingernail, according to Ventura. He was visited on the mound by the team's medical staff before exiting and was replaced by left-hander Matt Thornton.

• Catcher Hector Gimenez has reached base safely in seven of his last nine games, going 12-for-20 (.600) with six RBIs.

• Starter Jose Quintana and relievers Hector Santiago and Jessue Crain will pitch a "B" game on Sunday against the Dodgers at the Camelback Ranch complex at 10 a.m. MST/noon CT, while right-hander Zach Stewart starts the Cactus League game against the Royals at Surprise Stadium in the afternoon.

• Right-handers Jake Peavy and Nate Jones will pitch in a simulated game against Dodgers Minor Leaguers on Monday, an off-day for the White Sox, at 10 a.m. MST at Camelback Ranch. Gimenez is scheduled to catch.